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Social investing platform's tips really do pay dividends

by Lewis Panther | 24 Jul 2019
Social investing platform founder Andrew Page expects a 1,500% increase in followers of his Strawman.com site by next year.

The veteran market analyst reckons his current 3,000 membership will eventually number in the tens of thousands as Strawman.com targets an estimated 13.9 million online traders around the world.

But when his community of trading and investing enthusiasts has a 19% return on stock recommendations that is leaving the S&P ASX300 industrial average of 5-6% in the shade, it’s easy to see why he is so confident.

In a sign of just how successful Strawman.com is already, it has just received substantial backing from venture capitalist Black Nova. Page won’t cash-in anytime soon though. Even if he did have a windfall, he would stick with the day job - which is something he recommends for Australians thinking of jumping into the world of stocks and shares.

The former Motley Fool analyst sat down with InFinance after his two successful FINSIA webinars and the Black Nova announcement to reveal a few of the secrets of his success.

"Australia has a very high rate of share market participation, but we know the quality of professional advice tends to be pretty ordinary,” he explained.

"You don't tend to get very good results. 

“We saw that from the Royal Commission with financial planning.

“And there wasn’t really a place where investors could meet online and discuss and collaborate in an effective way. 

"So the idea was to build something that would facilitate that. It's basically an online investment club that allows people to connect and discuss shares online."

His previous work for a high net worth investment club put him in the perfect place to exploit that gap in the market. 


"We had a lot of people in the club who weren't share market analysts, didn't have finance degrees or anything like that, but had 30 years working in the industry,” he said. 

"They had an incredible amount of insight. It was a very, very valuable exercise, but was all done in person. It just occurred to me that there must be a way to collaborate and communicate online."

While the returns on Strawman’s recommendations look stunning, he hasn’t monetised the site. It’s free to join. And partial access always will be.

He added: "The beauty of it is we effectively crowdsource the information, and are able to tap into the experience and wisdom of a diverse and engaged network of private investors." 

"We've got more than 3000 members on the platform. It’s a very tight knit community. People are prepared to share their thoughts and read up on an ASX announcement or an annual report and put it there on the site. 

“There's a whole bunch of other blogs and stuff out there and chat forums. It's just full of noise with people pumping stocks and all the rest of it. 

“We try to bring a level accountability. You can get on there, make recommendations, then it gets tracked against the market with real prices.

“Members don't have to post content and can take a more passive role if they choose, using Strawman as a novel source of investment insight

While he thinks that ASX-linked ETFs can be the answer for time-strapped Australians who want to invest, those who are willing to put in the work could do well on the market. 

Though he is adamant that investing isn’t a get rich quick guarantee.

“There's a huge misconception amongst a lot of people with what trading in the share market is,” he said. 
“We see a lot of stuff like Wolf on Wall Street. The reality is the very, very different.

 “Most good quality investing is sitting on your hands and doing nothing. We're very agnostic. Our members can trade in the style that they want. But we tend to endorse a longterm, conservative, sensible view of investing.

“There's always someone who gets lucky each year, but then a year later they've lost all their money again. 

“Let me throw as much cold water on that as possible. We're not about a short term market trading and speculation and all of this rubbish, we really try to be about sensible long term investing.

“Like any worthwhile pursuit, investing well requires learning and practice.”

But people should take more interest in their money, he says.

“It is something that is far too precious to trust to someone else who has - as we saw in the Royal Commission - all these trailing commissions, poor performance and service. And this wasn't like a few rogue operators, this was a systemic problem. 

“So when you’re working 40, 50 hours a week, working, saving, and you trust that to someone who's going to underperform the market and charge you a bunch of fees for the privilege, I think you should take interest in this stuff.

“There's all kinds of hacks out there you can do to make your life easier. You'll find that on good blogs and sites that are really helpful to that. But you've got to take an interest and you should take an interest because it's important.”

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